It would be true to say that Dr Paisley’s jibe at his successor record against Sinn Fein has gone down a little sourly in certain sections of the DUP. But it does not, as David Gordon hints, mean that the DUP is about to be pipped at the post by Sinn Fein:
The Paisley article is presumably referring to the 2009 European Election result, when Sinn Fein topped the poll. That was not due to a surge in support for SF, but a fracturing of the unionist vote caused by the – apparently short-lived – rise of Jim Allister’s TUV.
But the TUV had polled strongly well before the European contest. The DUP lost a significant portion of its support to it in the Dromore council by-election in February 2008, leading to the UUP claiming the seat unexpectedly. And who was DUP leader at the time of this council by-election? None other than Ian Paisley. It was on his “watch”.
And what of the TUV now? Or of the UUP, who most likely face a contest between Tom Elliott and Basil McCrea? Where is the free ground in Unionism? And how do they get there?
Today’s piece in the News Letter is from Dawn Purvis calling for a pro Uniont project from the progressive left…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty